When I saw the movie “Once” , something inside me was deeply touched. Once is a love story. A love story about music and a story about two individuals who fall in love around their love for music. This was an interesting film not only because of the realistic manner in which it was filmed, but also because in real life the actor and actress actually did fall in love. The film didn’t talk about or discuss music as a theory or practice but rather showed it, in its raw form… creative, playful, emotional…profound! Music is a language. A language between individuals which builds connection, creates intimacy and shares something which no words can describe. Perhaps it is love transmitted as sound…
I recently had an opportunity to meet with Cecily and Michal Palzewicz.. Two musicians… lovers… parents.. band members. Living their dream, working together creating, sharing and teaching music in our community. I wanted to ask them to try to describe just a little bit of what it’s like! What it’s like to share music as a language, and a love.
Cecily and Michal, thanks for talking with me today.
So, what’s it like? :)
Cecily: It’s wonderful.
Michal: We are very fortunate to share music as our common language. Music is actually much more to us then something nice to enjoy. It is a way of life as well as a reflection of life. Being fully present to each other helps us express our music.
Cecily: Since English isn’t Michal’s first language music is a language we use to connect and relate to each other at the deepest level.
Can you share a little bit about how you first became involved in creating music your initial inspirations and interests….what captured you?
Michal: For me the were always two aspects. One is the pure beauty of music. It has a power to move and transport me to another dimension. The second, equally important, is the joy of co-creating music with others. Since I was 8 years old I have loved playing in ensembles, sharing adventures , and exchanging ideas. This year we have created and performed with our new group Trine, and I have played cello in the OSF production of ‘She Loves Me’ .
You guys have a one and a half year old daughter named Lucia. How do you bring music into her life and how do you see her responding or sharing similar qualities which you both might exhibit independently.
Cecily: Lucia certainly responds to music in a big way. She’s incredibly selective about what she wants to listen to, both with Cds and with our live music. She lets us know right away if she’s in the mood for a particular song or piece. She also gets very impatient with the pauses between tracks on Cds. She really cracks me up!
How is music as a language in your relationship?
Cecily: Most of the time Michal and I relate relatively easily and peacefully. However working on music together often creates tension and heat between us. We both have strong ideas, and are both incredibly passionate about how we want the music to sound. Yet, because we share similar musical sensibilities, we both end up fulfilled with the our creation. Writing music with Michal is a rich experience which makes me feel alive.
Michal, now you are originally from Poland so music has literally been a language to you in the way its taken you around the world. Eventually connecting you with Cecily. What has it been like for you to see music not only as a passion but also as a path in your life?
Michal: Actually music truly became a path only after beginning my regular yoga practice. Somehow the two forms of art compliment and fuel each other so well. The essence of both is the relationship to myself and to others. For example when I practice cello I tend to each note in a similar manner that one would water every flower in a garden. When I perform, I consciously reach my heart to every one in the audience.
You also teach cello as well as yoga?
Michal: Yes. I have been teaching cello since high school and I love passing my experience on to others. Nine years ago I began teaching yoga as well. It is amazing how much I learn from my students. Teaching requires me to re-examine concepts that I have taken for granted. This is very healthy because in the process I discover new and better ways to practice and achieve my goals faster.
I believe that attention is the moving force of the universe. In other words we affect anything we pay attention to. The more attention the more profound the change. It is also the best gift we can give others.
Cecily, you had mentioned that after childbirth your singing might have changed a bit. Can you share a little bit about how this experience has shaped you?
Cecily: That’s my line about my vocal work in our new band Trine. In the beginning when we were just beginning to meet and improvise and create our sound I was scared. Classical musicians aren’t always the best improvisers and it was intimidating. Fortunately I was able to make what was a huge leap for me and trust the music I heard in my head. Letting this voice out, letting these new sounds and new ways of using my voice out felt similar in many ways to what happened to me (and I think to many women) in childbirth. Before giving birth I thought I knew the capabilities and limits of my body, the parameters. But wow was I wrong! I had to make big leaps of faith with as much courage as I have and to say that I felt deep fear doesn’t begin to describe it. It was very similar, although on a smaller scale, to me as those early days of Trine. But as Lucia was the precious gift awaiting me on the other side of that fear, Trine is without a doubt the most creatively fulfilling experience of my life. Surrendering in labor made it easier for me to surrender to the insecurities I experienced while improvising.
You are now both members of the band Trine and along with percussionist Cedar Miller you have just released a new CD and will be performing a show coming up soon at the Unitarian Center. Can you share a little bit about what this has been like. Working together to create a CD, write and create music.
Cecily: I am so excited about Trine. As I said earlier, it is the creative experience of my life. Michal and I both feel so fortunate to have met Cedar. There has been a spark from the beginning and writing music together has been dynamic. Michal will start improvising, Cedar will jump in and suddenly there’s a foundation for a song. The ease with which this happens has surprised us and is thrilling.
What has the response to Trine been and how would you describe the type of music you play together?
Cecily: The response has been great. At our first and second shows back in the spring at Cultureworks one of the aspects that stood out to us was the multi-generational audience. We love this part of Trine. Besides getting positive feedback from adults we’ve received a surprisingly positive response from children. We hope to have our “sea of children” dancing in front at every show.
Descriptions of original music can be tricky but here’s one. Trine is: “a little Middle-Eastern, a little Celtic with some wild percussion, powerful singing and virtuosic cello elements.” It’s an eclectic sound that is unique.
I know it’s hard to necessarily put into words something that people simply just need to hear. Where and when can our audience learn more about your guys work and also come out to hear you?
Trine will be performing on Friday, October 8th at 7:30pm at the Unitarian Center in Ashland. Tickets are available at the Music COOP or on online at: www.trinemusic.com
Michal’s other websites: